Woody Whatever – Roar EP

Woody Whatever
Roar EP

Why do I get the feeling that Dayton Ohio’s Eric Schmall (aka Woody Whatever) was perhaps a student of Robert Pollard when the Guided By Voices pop-ditty god was spending more time as a teacher in a classroom than a rock star on stage? In my mind’s eye, I see a young and impressionable Schmall in Mr. Pollard’s classroom and, following a reading of Grimms’ fairy tales, the teacher pulling out an acoustic guitar and four-track recorder and saying, “Boys and girls, today we’re going to make small, catchy pop and rock songs.” Never mind that Schmall also serves time in another Ionik Records band with the very GBV-esque name Tobin’s Heroes, I think it is the fact that a Woody Whatever song could easily be slipped onto a release from the ongoing and sometimes bizarre The Fading Captain Series, and even the most ardent Postal Blowfish GBV fan might not even question it.

That aside, the Roar EP is a nine-song collection of lo-fi recordings that are sometimes and sometimes not entirely realized. “Computer USA” is the available single download that features the rather simple and straightforward song structure and what clearly sounds like a basic four-track recording technique. True to his or rather my perceived tutorage, the second song is a 35-second song snippet titled “Kiss My Big Black Ass.” Whether finalized or just an earmarked song page for future development, it’s something the artist wanted to share with the listener.

If not recalling earlier GBV recordings, Woody Whatever is also similarly appealing to me in a way that the first Tom Daily release Happily Deceiving Culture did much of what Schmall is doing here, but with just a bit cleaner, fuller final product. However, fans of Daily will indeed have much to like here, including the songs “I Won’t Last,” “Navy Brats,” and “On Your Way to Titus.” When stepping out of the pop-hook trappings, be it a clarinet accompanied instrumental or the more dour song “Let a Saw In,” Woody Whatever approaches the lo-fi aesthetic preferred by Lou Barlow circa Sentridoh.

For those that may be also guided by beer, the Roar EP from Woody Whatever might be something to go ahead and throw in with the overflowing suitcase collection of lo-fi one-offs and pop gems from that other Dayton, Ohio band.